Quality Sleep, Rest and Renewal

Written by Mr Royce Mahoney, Director Teaching and Learning

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7

 

QUALITY SLEEP, REST AND RENEWAL

The flu season has hit with force this year. As the staff, students and community struggle with the many ‘bugs’ out there, it is a really opportune time to reflect on rest and renewal of the body and mind. Some of our students have just delivered a sensational musical and are suffering from the gruelling demands of nine months of rehearsal and four nights of performances. Some of our students are working at part-time jobs, studying and trying to contribute to the co-curricular events at the College. Our Year 12 students are preparing for the QCS exams and the dreaded Term 3 exam block. It is tiring just thinking about the amount of energy expelled by our students, so it is vital to take some time to refresh. 

Sleep is crucial not just for physical and mental well-being, but for the consolidation of learning, and to ensure students perform well in all their endeavours. The absolute last resort should be to sacrifice sleep time in order to get things done. However, I hear students and teachers say, “I only need a few hours and I feel fine.” So, how much sleep is right for you? This is tricky as everyone is different. Some lucky people need only 6 hours a night, most people need about 8 hours and some people need 10 hours! The crux is that quality sleep is essential.

In our subscription to www.studyskillshandbook.com.au there is an article that details the importance of sleep. Some of the key learnings include the following:

Here are two ways to tell if you are getting enough sleep, one, how quickly do you fall asleep at night? If you fall asleep instantly that can be a sign you are not getting enough sleep, it should take 10-15 minutes to fall asleep. Two, how do you feel when you wake up in the morning? If you feel tired and sluggish then that can also be a sign that you need to get to bed earlier.

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IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF YOUR SLEEP:

  • Avoid caffeine (cola drinks, coffee, energy drinks, chocolate) after dinner or even better, no later than 4pm.

  • Organise as much as you can at night to minimise what you have to do in the morning (e.g. organise your clothes for the next day, pack your bag).

  • Try and have a minimum of half an hour to an hour before you go to bed without computers, TV, phone or any electronic devices or homework or chatting to friends. If you can’t do that, at least put the devices on night mode or turn the brightness down.

  • Set up a relaxing ‘wind-down’ routine before you go to bed. Do this same routine every night (e.g. warm shower, reading, listening to quiet music) so your brain associates these activities with bed time and sleep.

  • A drop in body temperature near bedtime triggers the sense that is time to go to sleep. So after a warm bath or hot shower, cool yourself down. It is also better at night to be cool rather than overheated.

  • Keep your room as dark and as quiet as possible at night.

  • When you lie in bed, start at your feet and mentally imagine relaxing each muscle as you slowly work your way up the body. Most people do not make it up to their head before they fall asleep!

  • In the morning open the curtains wide or go out into the sun and get lots of light to help wake your brain. Being exposed to lots of natural light during the day will also help the body produce the melatonin at the right time for a good sleep cycle.

  • A healthy breakfast will help to kick-start your body clock for the day.

If you know that you are running on empty or close to it, perhaps you might need to take a few tips from the list, or develop a rest routine, or use some quality time to meditate or pray and allow the wonders of the body to work.

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” Maya Angelou Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now